We have reached the end of this story. Thanks to everyone that has stuck with it.
Just a little warning, there are a couple of naughty words in this chapter. Nothing too bad, but I thought I would just let ya know. (and it isn't Raph this time, heh)
I dont' own them.
Chapter 12: Dead Shadows
Leo pushed his heavy eyelids open. As his sight focused, the light from the muted t.v. sent eerie shadows across the walls and ceiling. He drew in a sharp breath and tried to sit up, but something held him in place. He stopped struggling when he realized that it was Michelangelo's arm that was pinning him down. His baby brother's snores coming out softly on his shoulder.
Panic knotted in his stomach when the metallic scent of blood reached his nose. He shifted his body to get a better look around the room and pain shot through his shoulders and head. He muffled a groan and settled back down. After a few moments he tried to scan the room with just his eyes. Don was on his other side, he seemed to be alright. Raph was asleep in the recliner, his head resting against his chest.
Leo let out a sigh of relief. His brothers were safe...alive and breathing.
His eyes narrowed in confusion when he saw a shock of red hair under the blanket on the couch.
His head lolled to the side and he saw Casey against the couch, fast asleep. Mud was caked on his sneakers and jeans. When he got a better look at Raph, he had mud on his feet too.
Ignoring the pain, he tried to set up again. He needed answers.
Mikey mumbled and stirred beside him. His heart jumped to his throat when he felt hands push him back down.
He whirled his head around and instantly regretted it. Dark spots clouded his vision and pain shot through his head. He blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision. When the dark veil lifted, a very groggy Raphael came into focus. He was squatted beside him, his hands gently holding him in place.
Even in the dimly lit room, Leo could make out the dark bruises that littered his brother's face and arms. Thick, white bandages were wrapped around his chest.
Raph put his finger to his lips to keep Leo from talking.
Leo slowly shook his head. "W-What happened?" he barely whispered out.
"It can wait a few more hours," Raph whispered back.
Leo narrowed his eyes. He wanted answers now. Why was he so banged up? What happened to Peter Beckett? Why was April and Casey here?
"Please, Leo," Raph continued, before Leo could fire off any of the questions Raph knew was bubbling up in him. "They need to rest." He motioned to Mikey and Don.
Leo turned his head and his eyes instantly softened. Mikey was still sleeping soundly against his shoulder with his arm draped across his chest and Don was curled up next to him.
"You need to rest too."
"We'll explain everything later, I promise," Raph cut in again.
Leo wanted to argue, but his eyelids were getting too heavy. With a frustrated sigh, he gave up and his eyes slid shut. Raph's retreating footsteps was the last thing that he heard.
When he woke up again, he wasn't on the floor. He was laying on his stomach on the couch. The stench of blood was replaced by the strong smell of bleach. He blinked several times and scanned the room. It looked like a World War had went on. Busted concrete, damaged furniture...
He managed to raise up to his elbows and caught a glimpse of April carrying a bucket to the kitchen. She was wearing thick, yellow gloves. The kind that go all the way to the elbows.
"Hey, sleepyhead." Mikey's voice came from somewhere behind him.
Leo gritted his teeth and pushed himself the rest of the way. He squeezed his eyes shut and let his head rest against the back of the couch.
"How are ya feelin'?" Mikey held out a steaming cup of tea for him.
Leo cracked his eyes open and accepted the cup from Mikey.
"Hurts," he whispered out and gingerly touched the back of his bruised head.
"Yeah, we all are a little banged up."
Leo snorted. "A little?" He eyed his brother's cuts and bruises.
"Leo! You're awake!" April called from the kitchen. Raph, Don and Casey followed her out.
Don was the first to approach Leo. "Are you OK? How's your head?"
Leo waved Don's hand away. "I'm fine," he murmured. His glare found Raph, silently telling him that he remembered his promise.
Raph nodded. "I guess we can explain what happened."
"Do you want the long version or the short version?" Mikey tried to lighten the mood.
"Just tell me what happened." Leo's tone and posture showed that he was in no mood for games.
"Well, when we, uh...when you..." Don stammered. He didn't want to mention tricking Leo again.
"When the thing showed up, " Raph cut in. "We tried to keep it away from Donny."
"And you weren't able to?"
Mikey and Raph shook their heads, Don's color drained from his face.
"So, then we tried to keep Donny away from you," Mikey continued. "But that thing was like, wicked powerful."
Leo's eyes wandered around the lair to survey the damage.
"Were you able to keep Don away from me?"
Raph shook his head.
"But Donny's plan worked," Mikey said. "The demon couldn't drain you, so it worked." He tried to smile.
Leo's jaw clenched and his fingers dug into the arm of the couch.
"Mr. Beckett?" He asked between gritted teeth.
"When it couldn't drain you, it left Don and went into Peter," Raph explained. "Peter stabbed himself and trapped the demon. The eclipse moved out of place and it didn't have a sacrifice. It's over."
"Raph and I buried him outside the city," Casey added.
Leo took a deep breath to let all the information sink in.
"We know you're upset Leo, but at least the demon couldn't drain you," Mikey said.
"Upset?" Anger flashed across is face. "Damn right, I'm upset!"
"Wait just a second, Fearless, " Raph stepped in. "Show a little gratitude. Don saved yer sorry shell!"
"I didn't have a choice in the matter!"
"You wouldn't listen to reason!"
"Reason? It was a hunch! We weren't even sure that it would work! I couldn't help you! Hell, I couldn't even protect myself!"
Leo pushed himself off the couch and started to walk away.
"Wait, Leo! We aren't finished here." Raph went after him.
Don held out his hand to stop Raph. "Let him be."
"What?" Raph spat. "You saved his life and he's acting like a spoiled brat!"
"If everything was reversed, Raphael, would you have wanted the same thing to happen to you?" Don's gaze was fixed on the ground.
Raph opened his mouth to retort, but quickly closed it. He growled under his breath and walked away.
"Come on, Don," April tugged on his arm. "I'll fix a fresh pot of coffee. And I think Mikey is fixing pancakes for breakfast." She lead him to the kitchen.
"I'll take Leo some breakfast up to his room later," Mikey offered.
"No, I'll take it," Don said. "Just let him have some time to himself."
****A couple of hours later**********
Leo heard a soft knock at his door.
Don pushed the door open. Leo's room was dark, except for a single candle glowing on his nightstand. Leo was sitting on his bed, his legs drawn up to his chest and his head resting on his knees. He was staring into the flame that was dancing wildly on the wick.
"I brought you something to eat." Don sat the tray on the desk.
"Thanks." Leo didn't take his eyes from the flame.
"Master Splinter will be home later today," Don tried to keep the conversation going. He needed to make things right.
"Really?" Leo finally looked at Don.
"Yeah, he said that he would explain everything when he got back. Apparently whatever kept us out of the multiverse, kept him from coming home."
"Makes sense." Leo's gaze went back to the candle.
"Leo, I just wanted to say I was sorry." Don pushed the words out quickly. He wasn't sorry that the plan worked, but he hated having to trick his brother.
Leo slowly shook his head. He patted the space beside him on the mattress. Don sat down beside him.
"I know you're really mad, but please..."
Leo raised his hand to silence his ranting brother.
Leo took a deep breath and slowly released it. "I should be the one to apologize to you, Don."
"What? No, Leo, I should have never..."
"Please, Don, let me say I'm sorry too. You saved my life, little brother. Thank you."
"But I shouldn't have drugged you like that." Don pulled his legs to his chest.
"You saved me, Donny. And I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing if I were in your place."
Don nodded. He smiled when Leo put his arm around him and pulled him into a hug.
"I'm sorry that I blew up like that. I was mad. But I took some time to think about it. I will do anything to protect my family, I forget that you would do the same for me."
Leo gave him a crooked smile. "Just don't do it again."
Don chuckled a little, but remained silent. Neither of them could promise something like that.
Don glanced at the candle that looked like it had been burning since Leo came to his room.
"What are you doing?" He motioned to the candle.
"Watching the shadows," Leo answered.
"The demon is gone, Leo. "
"I know." Leo turned back to the candle.
"Are you worried?"
"No," He smiled as he watched the shadows weave and dance along the ceiling and walls. Leo blew the candle out. "Let's go join the others and wait for Master Splinter."
Sleet fell heavily over a field just outside the city. A small mouse scampered across a mound of freshly dug dirt. It kept running until it met the road that ran along the field. A few cars passed before headlights hit the creature. No one noticed the glowing red eyes....